Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kiss - Asylum

In 1985, Kiss recorded an album with their third lead guitarist in as many releases, Asylum. Bruce Kulick was the new kid on the block and Kiss was coming off the hugely successful Animalize. There was high demand for a follow up just as strong. So was Kiss able to pull off the task of recording an exceptional LP with yet another guitarist? Is Asylum worth seeking out and adding to your collection? Let’s spin the disc and find out!

Asylum opens with King of the Mountain which launches with a nifty little drum pattern from Eric Carr. This is followed by a rocking guitar riff from Bruce Kulick who immediately makes his presence known. King of the Mountain is a great opener in the vein of 80s Kiss. Paul Stanley handles lead vocals on this track and his voice is in top form. King of the Mountain is a solid way to start the record.

Gene Simmons takes over vocals on the next track, Anyway You Slice It. This is another rocker with a lot of punch. Gene’s voice gives the song a heavier, darker edge and more brilliant guitar work from Bruce rounds it out nicely.

The best track on the disc (and one of the most forgotten Kiss songs ever) is Uh! All Night. This song is classic Kiss and then some. With lots of balls, Paul’s amazing vocal power, and plenty of sexual innuendos, Uh! All Night is a memorable song that should be considered an anthem for the sex-craved male. Why this song is not as overplayed as Rock and Roll All Nite still remains a mystery to me.

While filled with plenty of hits and lots of classics, Asylum does not come without its less memorable moments. I’m Alive and Love’s a Deadly Weapon are both clunkers that would have served well as B-sides instead of actually being including on the record. Even Bruce’s talented guitar solo on Love’s a Deadly Weapon can’t save this song from the “don’t ever listen to” fate it deserves.

What really pulls Asylum together as an excellent recording is the incredible guitar work of Bruce Kulick. For his debut album with Kiss, Bruce didn’t pull any punches and he really delivered the goods. His leads bring most of the songs to another level of quality and his solos throughout the record are fantastic. Bruce was the best guitarist Kiss ever had after Ace Frehley, and on Asylum, he challenges Ace for that title.

Chock full of 80s riffs, sleaze, sex, and power ballads, Asylum is an excellent Kiss record that never got the credit it deserved. While older Kiss fans revel in the nostalgia of 70s Kiss, and newer fans cling to Gene Simmons Family Jewels, there is a whole era of 80s Kiss that has gone forgotten. The crown jewel of this era is Asylum, an album that is worthy of your hard earned cash and multiple listens on your IPod.

Ryo’s Rating: 8.5 (out of 10)

Track Listing
King of the Mountain
Anyway You Slice It
Who Wants To Be Lonely
Trail By Fire
I’m Alive
Love’s A Deadly Weapon
Tears Are Falling
Secretly Cruel
Radar For Love
Uh! All Night

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